A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: self care

But, the Mosquito’s Dead

I often describe touching moments with my children…surprising events…cute, funny things I want to remember always once they are too old to touch me in these young ways.

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(Pinterest clearly understands gloating my precious family moments.)

Today, however, was not such a day, and I’m torn between wanting to deny this day’s very existence, or write about it hoping I won’t continue to be ripped once I’m finally able to sink into the oblivion I’ve been chasing for hours.

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(Why yes, Ranker, you captured the day’s family portrait perfectly!)

It’s a challenging time of year. My parents are here for the summer, making Little Man a perpetual buzz of excitement, and Warrior Queen intermittently disgruntled because someone else will be holding her, yet I have not compensated for the Mommy time deficit. Days that are only the three of us usually leave me craving some type of documentation that I seldom have time to produce these days.

The immediate morning was an omen, and frankly I knew I was in trouble when feeling an unwavering impulse to give Mr. Man to a circus if I thought they’d want him.

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(If everyone in Wikipedia’s picture was prancing around in a diaper, this would be our family room.)

I assumed the stars would align because I completed five minutes past my general morning exercise goal…It was a horrifyingly sad tease, and I’m still kind of bitter about it.

I figured if we managed to shuttle out to the library music program we regularly attend, things would be fine…per my usual experience with a hyper, silly preschooler. Warrior Queen was disgruntled from the get-go because, of course, she was. I’ve been giving her unending carrots and crackers because they are the only things that have made her disposition tolerable for days now. She might be teething…she might have to take a dump…or she might just be fucking with me in a twisted competition with her brother on who can behave like the biggest douche face in a single day…It’s a toss up, and I seriously considered efforts to convince both children that it’s time to go to sleep for the night…at ten in the morning.

My parents met us for the program. I receive copious comments on the wondrous nature of having help for the summer. I enjoy seeing my parents, but days like today as a prime example of the annoying difficulty containing the boisterosity I encounter leave feelings of nostalgia for when I go at things alone. Threenager was throwing hard, solid plastic egg shakers in the air…because nothing bad can happen with that decision.

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(Pinterest knew our attendance was a hit at the program.)

Fifteen-month-old Warrior Queen decides this is the one time she isn’t interested in a tether to my lap. She was on the perpetual move by any means necessary to achieve escape.

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(Dreamstime.com saw Warrior Queen’s reaction to any attempt at corralling the impulse of adventure.)

Thirty seconds transpired when both children nuzzled me in the most wonderfully snuggle infused touching way…It wasn’t enough. It’s almost time to go to sleep, and I still feel I need to beat my head against a wall to make the pain of this day evaporate into a good night’s sleep.

I invited a couple of friends over after the music program. One friend is a regular, so we both knew Little Man would likely make both boys cry throughout the visit…I still can’t believe they step into our home willingly. But, my other friend was new to the experience, and Mr. Man did not disappoint. There were moments seeing both boys play, her son with giddy smiles…until my husband’s demon spawn caused the little boy to clunk his head on our wood floor in some wincing way. The other two boys remained on their Mommy’s lap the entire span of the Thunderdome experience…their crying was minimal; a blessed paltry miracle perhaps?

Despite three removals upstairs for a good chunk of time, my son absolutely could not contain his excitement at having visitors.

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(“I. said. MOVE!”)

The most maddening aspect of what occurred today is that my son is mostly well behaved, sweet, and so considerate when we are out, at other people’s houses, whatever. When people come over, this type of thing happens every time. He simply cannot manage. It isn’t just the issue with sharing, which is also a problem. Little Man is entirely too rough. He thinks he’s playing, but the other children are usually overwhelmed. Unfortunately, most of the time I host at my house. My friends indicate their boys of similar age to Little Man have almost identical navigations with friends in their own domain. I continue to apologize well after awkwardness should set in…thank goodness for text. My first-timer friend texted me when she arrived home; her son said he had a great time. I commented that I think he hurt his head more than she thought.

My son continued to vibrate in jumping, clumsy giggles until I almost sprouted exploding snakes from my head, sending him to quiet time thirty minutes early.

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(Okay, Pinterest, your accuracy is getting a tad unsettling…)

He passed-out immediately…so did Warrior Queen who had mostly been fine with such a full house…probably because I’m phasing out her bottle. The only time she can partake is at noon until she goes down for the afternoon nap. Realizing today that it seems I’ve reached the threshold of her mostly losing interest in her bottle. Most the day I urge a sippy cup. Today she was actually receptive to the cup and dawdled with the bottle, not drinking from the bottle and continually dropping it. The only reason I maintain this narrow window is that she had been consuming sixteen ounces of milk in two hours. As of today that consumption sharply diminished. It seems that after this week there will be no more bottles for Warrior Queen. I’m relieved and a little sad about this transition for absolutely stupid reasons. But, I digress…

Kids asleep; the house was mine…MINE!

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(A situation so special I’d shave for it…possibly even above the knee!)

I finished my well earned remainder of my exercise routine while reading my smut. Improving sleep and concentration, I had been returning to my more high brow classical and impressive nonfiction selections, but not today, my friends. Today I’m lucky if my thoughts are coherent enough to use a more extensive vocabulary than “fuckity fuckface.”

Occasionally my son and daughter sleep three hours. It happens regularly enough that it isn’t a pipe dream…unless I’m having a craptastic day. In such cases I should rejoice they make it the reliable two hours without some random insect removal or lawn company ringing the doorbell, subsequently disturbing two pristinely napping children. I bitterly celebrated when Mr. Man lasted exactly two hours…Warrior Queen an additional fifteen minutes…because she actually loves her mother.

Mr. Man continued to behave like I dusted all of his food in PCP until well into the evening. Naturally this would be the very rare evening my husband needed to work late.

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(Channel the flowers…CHANNEL THE FUCKING FLOWERS, JUSTINSONMIA…woosah!)

I’m fairly certain my children had dinner. I’m also fairly certain that I did not…unless you count the glass I’d been chewing every time I attempted to take a sip of water. The entirety of the evening spent with my son head-butting, kicking, and tackling his sister; jamming his fingers in my face (I’m not entirely sure where his fingers have even been, but I’m trying to push that query aside.), and dismantling our sectional sofa by dislodging every conceivable pillow into a random pillow henge around our family room.

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(History.com knows what it looks like when you stop caring.)

Such an array of padding came in handy when he continually launched himself into impressive swan sprawls into the air.

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(You guessed it, Pinterest…I feel like I have my own Mommy-House photographer documenting my entire day…)

His sister delighted jumping on the sofa springs, which was fine by me because she’d been unpleasant unless she was on my lap ingesting a cracker…There had better be an arrival of a new tooth come morning…

I somehow managed to bathe both children. It goes without saying the bathroom flooded, but not as terribly as it could have been. I’ll go ahead and call that a win. My husband eventually making the grandest entrance any spouse could possibly conceive, which consisted of him just showing up.

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(Something like that, thanks, 98.5.)

Soon after my husband’s arrival home I shepherded Warrior Queen to her shut-eye. She was ready for the day to conclude as well.

I finally managed to eat dinner entirely too late, and hanger, my friends, is real; I’m becoming frightfully familiar with the such a state of being these days. While the omelet wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as my random and absurd perfectionistic compulsion prefers, it was mighty tasty and contained cheese. But, the highlight of the day, hands down, was that damn mosquito I crushed with one artful hand clap before I was bitten. So, with my bloodlust quenched in a surprisingly gratifying way, I reflected on a day that, all things considered, wasn’t too bad.

The Terrible Awful in Me, and Otherwise

I’m a terrible person; harsh, unforgiving, and cruel.  With gusto I will kick and stomp when someone is down, and award myself with notions of strength after I’ve accomplished just such a feat.  That someone is me.

I’m on the tail end of a fairly nasty nose cold.  I catch roughly a quarter of the plagues that befall my home, but when I am part of the befallen, it’s usually some degree of a doozy.  I don’t usually whine about being sick, so if I’m actually articulating misery with this type of thing, safe to say it’s probably pretty bad.

The first couple days of my cold were quite mild, so I deceived myself that I would be annoyed for a week, but my life would proceed as planned.  Maybe I would be grumpier than usual, but since Warrior Queen was also sick and waking up a bit at night, I probably wouldn’t receive too much blame for an edge in my cadence.  But, my colds are never mild.  I continued to tell myself I was experiencing a hint of sick even when a truck hit me in the early evening, leaving my eyes leaking tears from exhaustion, a blocked and vaguely pained ear, nausea, and headache.  My son woke from his nap, and I had not prepared dinner.  I stood at our kitchen counter frozen with slumped shoulders, unable to drape fish in a tray so the oven could do all the heavy lifting.  A rational person would say, “Man, I’m seriously sick.  Maybe I should sit.”  If a friend described the very scenario I was experiencing, I would tell them to sit and let their toddler burn down the house.  Hell, if the woman I encountered weeks ago or the person parked next to me at the mall described these events, I’d tell them to sit and grab a beverage…maybe some chocolate.

I berated myself for having to feed my son a serving of our plentiful leftovers.  He told me the lentil dish I served him was, “Delicious,” before eating two helpings, by the way, so why was it necessary to mommy guilt myself that the cod would remain in the refrigerator one more day?  I feel pretty confident the dead fish wouldn’t be insulted, and I was too sick to taste anything anyway.  My son clearly didn’t care, and my husband is always happy that he didn’t have to cook.

I’m proud to say much of the time I accept I’m not perfect…at anything.  Most days I even broadcast such news and events to anyone within close proximity.  The result is a shared laugh because so many of the trials of parenthood are strangely and wonderfully universal.  Having children allows me to welcome my imperfections, and laugh at the ride.  I don’t take myself quite so seriously anymore, but this critical piece of me continues to exist, taking full advantage when I am at my weakest.  And, she joins forces with my malleable and expansive imagination that possesses no loyalty either way.

After a grueling forty-eight hours of wakefulness, I managed a good night’s sleep.  Feeling significantly better and reasonably well rested, my equilibrium is returning.  I can laugh at myself again and reflect on my unreasonable chastise of my parenting performance and scrutiny over my general life tenacity.  What did I learn?  My children and I are at our best when I consider myself as worthy of kindness, attention, and nurturing…and chocolate has magical properties that can never be dismissed or minimized…

Fairly Aggressive, Not All that Passive

My two-year-old son is a seasoned professional in the sleep regression field, but seems to be starting his transition back to his reliable snooze during the day.  I say this cautiously, as today was the first day in almost two weeks when he napped.  It wasn’t enough to spare me from an odd mix of sweetly clingy and dismally cranky, with a side of impulsive destruction as the late afternoon progressed into evening, but I’ll take it.

There are all kinds of reasons for sleep regression specific to this age, but Mr. Man’s brand is concern for missing out on Mommy time.  If I weren’t so tired, this would be endearing.  The genesis of this problem is my fault, really.  A combination of me assuming a toddler equates an oblivious human, and his delayed speech pressing me to forget exactly how finely attuned his receptive language is, prompted me to lament to anyone who would listen on the phone how the Warrior Queen spent the duration of Little Man’s nap sleeping on me for several days in a row.  The fateful afternoon in question began his naptime with my son waiting in his crib while I trekked downstairs to retrieve his disgusting bacteria and disease carrying stuffed dog, as well as my wailing daughter.  He screamed, “Baby! Baby!” repeatedly between fits of tears once I returned with her nestled in my arms.  That was it.  He hasn’t taken a nap since despite his blatant need for some shut-eye.  Seriously, two months of night time feedings didn’t have me looking as tired and ragged as Little Man during the past couple weeks.  Today he napped, a paltry forty-five minutes, but it’s a start, and hopefully a sign of what’s to come…for everyone’s sanity.

But, today I waited too long to retrieve my son from his crib.  The process of sleep training my son, and my daughter intermittently requiring me to hold her for significant durations throughout my son’s “quiet time,” left me getting little done and having almost no break in the last couple weeks.  So, I took it upon myself to enjoy a lovely piece…or two…okay, four…of my favorite dark chocolate hazelnut bar while my daughter actually slept without me needing to intervene.  My son was awake and standing, but if he suspected I had chocolate, he’d climb my face to get to it…not even kidding.  My delay consequently, had me pay the piper once I retrieved him.  Not only did he become suddenly upset between the thirty seconds it took me to clean every ounce of chocolate off of my fingers and reach his door, but then my daughter began passionately screaming downstairs as I pulled him up.

In the six weeks since my parents left, I’ve become a bit of an aficionado at managing situations when at least one of the three of us is unhappy.  Warrior Queen needed to eat, and I needed Conan the Destroyer to chill until I could satiate my daughter well enough to reasonably tend to him.  Maybe cartoons work for some parents.  I haven’t used that piece of potential arsenal yet, but Mr. Man loves watching home recordings of himself as a baby.  He’s also rather partial to his sister’s first bath video; it’s usually first on the viewing docket.

The home movies worked their magic for a bit.  My daughter was able to chug a good amount of her formula.  My son was entertained with videos of him laughing at the wind through the leaves when he was six-months-old, but then he decided to attempt calling Guam, reaching past my computer for our home phone.  Movies done; my daughter notsomuch.

The next intervention for a generally disquieted Mr. Man following an insufficient rest works about half the time.  Usually not when I’m in the middle of tending to his sister, but it’s easy enough to try.  I enthusiastically offer to read him a story.  Surprisingly, Little Man scampers off to the other room, and I hear him retrieving items from the appropriate shelf.  He wastes no time returning, laying a book in front of me while his sister continues to inhale the contents of her bottle.  I hadn’t read this specific story to him since I was pregnant, but I guess he had a yen for, You Were the First.

The Simple Truths of a Cover Girl

There are certain things I do as maintenance, which is my code for small physical upkeep that consists of vanquishing Bubbe from the old country by waxing my eyebrows and mustache or clipping my toe and fingernails.  If I manage a haircut before it becomes reminiscent of a shag carpet that’s been trampled upon for decades, so much the better.

I’m not particularly vain, but I don’t like to look horrible either.  Sometimes it’s a struggle to feel good; the weeks I’ve been experiencing as of late with a relentless cycle of tenacious, albeit relatively mild, illness reminds me of that.  Mommyhood is hard in simultaneously trite and inexplicable ways; the grind easily apparent on my face from time-to-time.  Exceedingly sensitive skin interferes with my ability to wear make-up, so a sleepless night or two becomes the following day’s black luggage.  With all the pleasure and joys the experience of primary caregiving brings, it saddens me that the toll becomes more perceptible to the world than the better person I’ve become from this new life.  And, while I am not necessarily concerned about judgment, I’m not comfortable that the struggles might be more obvious to the world than the peace and beauty of my experiences.

Since my son was born almost two years ago, I think back to what helped pull me through the initial consumption quagmire of his external life, knowing this will be my reality once again in a few scant months.  I’m sure I should say that the blessing of my beautiful newborn son carried me through sleep deprivation and other jarringly unpleasant conditions; the pressure of such expected jubilations are an undercurrent to part of the harsh reality for a mother caring for an infant in the first months.  On some level combustible joy exists, but on many others a cloud of regret and fear hovers not all that far off.

But, perhaps oddly, when my hair was fixed and my nails were short just the way I like them; when my lip and eyebrows are waxed, and the most alluring aspects of my shadowed, sleep deprived complexion; I feel a certain strength and loveliness about the pulls of the experience.  There are other important efforts for my self-care that are pivotal in my enjoyment of my Mommydom journey, but these simple, controllable pleasures are profound constants for me.

Introduction: The Competing Mommies in All of Us

I have been a mom for almost a year, which opened me to a world that feels hidden beneath the surface of every family with children. The first three months were isolating with intense bouts of loneliness mingled with fatigue, but that passed. I decided early on, before my son was born, that I would not be a stay-at-home mom, yet a year later that is exactly what I am. I came to two conclusions on this matter: 1) I truly enjoy spending time with him and 2) I’m not a strong enough person for the full-time, ongoing commitment.

Soon after I delivered I was offered an opportunity to be a private education consultant, which has been a slow start. The eventual prospect helps maintain a sometimes thinly veiled sanity, but on the positive end, I have a deep understanding of an aspect of society I was too afraid to face had I the option to avoid it.

Speaking to the so many other new moms and organizing a new mom social group, I learned the need to surround myself by things that make me happy as an individual, which is a surprisingly challenging concept raising an infant day in and day out. Thinking of writing a blog for a long time, as writing makes me happy, but procrastinating another avenue offering me peace of mind at times when I vacillate between feeling the need for baring a superhero emblem and hiding in a corner with the hope that Fear and his brother Incompetence do not have sufficient tracking skills to find me in the closet behind the shoes I’ve collected over the years, but can no longer wear after pregnancy.

So, it’s almost a year later, and in a moment of clarity I added to my short list of happiness and peace that is selfishly for me. I’ve become intermittently proficient at staying in the moment and enjoying the now, one of the many lessons I learned this year, along with: My son will only provide his fountain of youth on days when I managed to throw together a really cute ensemble right before heading out the door. I try not to live in the land of “wishes and should haves” because then I focus on, “Why haven’t I been documenting this life changing event all along?” I don’t want to focus on this regret because my journey is just beginning, so why catch-up when there are always new stories to tell?

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